Google News Improves Timeliness, Context

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News that’s not timely barely matters; news that’s not presented in context is irresponsible.  Now, by changing the way it tracks updates and local coverage, Google News hopes to address both these issues.

That’s not to say it did a poor job in either respect before; even though I prefer the BBC for some purposes, I still visit Google News many times a day.  But genuine improvements are, by definition, always good things, and on the Google News Blog, Sharad Jain detailed the latest upgrades.

“[W]e recently released . . . a new algorithm to help determine the most recent update to a story,” he wrote.  “In other words, it lets us find something new that’s been added to a breaking story.  So instead of just seeing the most recent publishing activity for a breaking story, we highlight the sources which brought you the information in the first place. Once there’s new information from another source, we update our results so you get any new developments to the story.”

Also, “Another signal we’ve added helps us recognize the importance of local context in a story. . . .  [W]e have started actively promoting high quality local reporting in addition to coverage from foreign sources.  This means we try to find sources at the scene of a story who are doing original reporting.  It may be a national or international story with many sources from around the world reporting on it, but often times one of the best sources of information on a story are those closest to it.”

So the next time you see a local television station – or a source you’ve already read – mentioned in Google News, don’t discount it as some freak accident.  Google’s just tuning the whole timeliness-and-accuracy thing, and we’re thankful for that.

Google News Improves Timeliness, Context
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